I met Krishnamurti for the first time about five or six weeks into the opening of the first year of the Oak Grove School. At that time, I was the school’s only academic teacher. One of the consultants to the school was a professor at UCLA who had attended a few meetings with Krishnamurti in Malibu. This professor had told me that the way Krishnamurti interacted with people was very unusual. He would come into a room, I was told, and not greet people in any ordinary way. He had a strange aura, this professor said and looked at you as though he could read your mind.
This was one of the worst and most erroneous pieces of information I ever heard about Krishnamurti. But I had no way of knowing it at the time. So when Mark Lee interrupted a meeting after school one day and told me that Krishnamurti wanted to meet me and was waiting at his cottage, I was somewhat terrified. As we were walking up to the cottage, with the professor’s warning in mind, I asked Mark how I was supposed to greet Krishnamurti. He looked at me with a grin and said, “Do you know how to curtsy?”
Maybe Mark thought his little jest would put me at my ease. If so, he was mistaken. It only added to my confusion. Fortunately, Krishnamurti himself was so natural, so warm and gracious — so entirely unlike what I had been told by the professor — that none of it mattered very much. He was standing under the pepper tree, and he shook my hand with a gentle, sensitive grip. He motioned with his hand toward the cottage, and as we were walking toward it, he asked if we had met before. He seemed to have a faint memory of me. In fact, I had asked him a few questions from the audience of his public talks, but I was too tongue-tied to explain any of that, and just told him we had not.
We sat together with a few other people in his cottage for about twenty minutes. He must have seen I was nervous because he reached over two or three times and touched my elbow in a gesture of reassurance. We talked a little about the purpose of the school, and he said we would have lots of opportunities to discuss everything in the months ahead. He could hardly have been nicer or more normal and good-natured.
Unfortunately, it took me years to learn to reciprocate and interact with him in a similar manner. I was somewhat in awe of the figure I perceived speaking from a public platform and had difficulty dropping my images and relating to the actual person that he was.